It was the first UFC PPV event of the year, and despite no titles being on the line, UFC 234 was still a fun card. Here’s three things we learned from the card down under.
Following the removal of Robert Whittaker from UFC 234, the card felt deflated. There seemed to be no buzz, and it was too late to find another fight to install as a title fight. It was also too late to pull the card off PPV and put it on ESPN despite the fact that the event probably didn’t deserve to have a price tag of 60$. Despite this, those that tuned in were treated to one of the most fun main cards in recent memory.
With that being said, here’s some of the biggest news and headlines coming out of Australia and UFC 234.
2Lando Vannata is Groovy again
Lando Vannata is not a fan of judges, and for good reason. Having gone 0-2-2 in his last four fights, Vannata needed a win at UFC 234 no matter what. Lando came into the UFC as a short notice fight for Tony Ferguson in July of 2016, where he took one of the greatest fighters in the lightweight division to the limit, almost finishing him in the first round prior to being submitted in the second. Vannata then came out at UFC 206 and knocked out veteran John Makdessi with one of the most beautiful spinning kicks you’ll ever see.
After his first two performances in the octagon it seemed “Groovy” Lando Vannata was the future of the UFC’s lightweight division. However from there we all know the story, a loss to Teymur, a draw to Green, a loss to Klose, and a draw with Frevola. One can argue that he should’ve gone 2-2 in that stretch, however that’s judging in MMA for you. Though it’s worth noting two draws in such a short span is nearly unheard of. So going into UFC 234, Vannata desperately needed a win to simply stay in the UFC.
Then tragedy befell the main event and Robert Whittaker. Vannata took advantage of his new spotlight in the co-main event, and went out and downright dominated UFC newcomer Marcos Mariano. Showcasing a strong top game, Vannata was landing shots nearly at will prior to snatching onto a kimura and not letting go. Vannata had his back at the wall, and absolutely showed up and got a big win that gives him some breathing room in a cramped lightweight division.